CommVault Takes On Symantec With Simpana 7.0


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CommVault is upping the ante in its bid to beat up rival Symantec by bringing together a number of data management point solutions into a single unified management application.

The Simpana 7.0 software suite, formerly known as QiNetix, improves the data search and archiving efficiency and adds new search capabilities for e-discovery and compliance requirements, said David West, vice president of marketing and business development for the Oceanport, NJ-based vendor.

"You're going to hear us talk about information management going forward, not data management," West said.

Dan Molina, CTO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider, said said he likes the idea of a single management approach to information. "Once a customer has had CommVault software installed for their backups, they then realize they can add modules for e-mail archiving, data replication, and more," he said. "Now CommVault is using Simpana to expand with search capabilities and single-instance storage. and single-instancing is a fast-growing requirement of our customers."

CommVault's data management software has typically fit in the space between Symantec's Veritas Backup Exec and NetBackup, with a price close to that of Backup Exec and capabilities close to those of NetBackup, Molina said.

However, Molina said, Simpana 7.0 could give CommVault the edge over Symantec. "With its simple management interface, it's easier for most customers to use CommVault," he said. "And once customers understand the CommVault GUI (graphic user interface), the rest is easy."

Molina also likes the name change from QiNetix to Simpana, which stems from an acronym for Singular information Management.

"For the first time, the name makes sense," Molina said. "Once you get the explanation, at least. It shows CommVault is trying to manage information. But it will take some time getting used to."

To increase archiving efficiency, Simpana now includes a smart client for data classification. The new client includes an agent which scans data as it is created the first time for an index, and then updates that index as changes are made, West said.

The smart client cuts the amount of time required for searching backups and archiving, and can feed a content and indexing application without the need to do a new backup. West said the amount of time actually saved when using the client still requires real-world testing, but he said it is expected to be material.

Also new is content indexing of not just the metadata of a file, but of the data itself according to 370 different file types in 77 different languages. Customers can set which types of archived data should be indexed, and can set the indexing to be used with specific users according to corporate policies.

Simpana 7.0 also includes single-instance storage for disk-to-disk backups. Single-instance storage ensures that only one copy of a file is saved to disk, with duplicate copies of the files replaced with a pointer in order to cut capacity requirements.

While previous versions of QiNetix supported encryption, Simpana 7.0 now adds support for encryption to up to AES-256, as well as support for encrypting of data to LTO-4 tapes. The software also has the option to encrypt data as it is sent off-line for archiving to tape, with the encryption keys kept inside the customer's data center.

Users of Simpana 7.0 can also now take advantage of a new Google-type search capability. They can do contextual searches of all data, both on-line and off-line including backed up data based on keywords, West said. The search capability can also find data according to user, and open files found during the search process directly from the user interface without the need to copy or move the data. "This helps cut the e-discovery help desk work," West said.

The search capability is also integrated with Active Directory in order to specify which users have access to which files.

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